Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Originally owned by the Los Angeles Times newspaper, it was purchased by Don Lee, a well-known local automobile dealer who also owned KFRC in San Francisco. The Don Lee stations eventually numbered 21. In 1949, the entire broadcasting company, including KHJ and other stations, was merged into RKO General. The call letters were said to stand for "Kindness, Happiness, and Joy". Famous entertainers of the period, such as George Burns and Gracie Allen, appeared on KHJ. At one point the station employed its own 50-piece orchestra to back up musical guests. In fact, in an historic 1931 broadcast (which partially survives today), KHJ introduced the world to an up-and-coming singer named Bing Crosby. Pat Weaver (the president of NBC, creator of The Today Show and The Tonight Show, and the father of actress Sigourney Weaver) worked there as an announcer.
During the 1960s, programming consultant Bill Drake was brought in as a consultant. He created a very tight sound built on a restrictive playlist, and tight controls on what was said by the announcers (although a few superstar announcers, such as Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele were allowed to develop their own on-air personalities). Also part of the format, which came to be known as "Boss Radio", was a package of memorable jingles performed by the Johnny Mann Singers .
The format brought high ratings to the station through the late 1970s until FM radio became the dominant way to broadcast popular music. RKO General encountered difficult challenges to their radio and television licenses and was ultimately forced by the FCC to sell off their broadcast properties. KHJ signed off the air as such on January 31, 1986. That evening, on what turned out to be KHJ's final-to-date English-language broadcast, many disc jockeys from throughout KHJ's heyday of Boss Radio (including Robert W. Morgan, M.G. Kelly, Bobby Ocean, and Boss Radio-era Program Director Ron Jacobs) reunited for a farewell broadcast, playing the songs that had made KHJ a popular AM station in the 1960s and 1970s. At the stroke of midnight, the station changed its call letters to KRTH to match those of its FM sister station, KRTH-FM, call letters which it retained until RKO General sold off its properties.
In the late 1980s, the 93 AM frequency became a full-time Spanish-language station, adopting the call sign KKHJ. But to some sensitive English-speaking listeners, pronouncing the call letters in Spanish would have also meant mentioning a word that would be too offensive. So in 2000 (in an era where new or newly-owned/managed stations would be granted four-letter call signs), the FCC granted a rare return to the original three-letter call sign, KHJ.
As of 2005, KHJ continues airing as a Spanish-language station, owned by Lieberman Broadcasting, operating at 5kW.
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